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Lorrie Lisek: High gas prices demand solutions, not blame

Lorrie Lisek: High gas prices demand solutions, not blame

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Lorrie Lisek

Lorrie Lisek

Energy resilience is one of those things most people don’t think about until it’s too late.

Energy resilience is the ability to withstand a crisis that can impact energy and fuel sources. The causes can be natural, like a flood, or human-made, such as the war in Ukraine.

With gas and diesel prices reaching record highs, many are pointing fingers of blame while trying to determine how they can save money on fuel.

My organization, Wisconsin Clean Cities, is nonpartisan and doesn’t lobby. So we won’t add to the debate on the causes for high gasoline and diesel prices. What we will offer is information on how everyone can do their part to be part of the solution.

Central to the issue is reducing our dependence on oil and petroleum.

The mission of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program is to reduce dependence on imported petroleum by increasing the adoption of clean, affordable domestic fuels and technologies such as electric vehicle charging stations and the vehicles and equipment that support them.

For some fleets and individuals, choosing to adopt sustainable transportation options such as alternative fuel and electric vehicles and equipment is fueled by a passion for helping the environment by reducing harmful emissions.

Others see it as their patriotic duty to support fuel and energy sources produced in the U.S. rather than those imported from other countries.

We are now seeing many fleets and individuals expressing an interest in sustainable transportation options we haven’t heard from before. In large part, this is due to the fuel cost savings and pending funding options from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. With diesel prices reaching $5.55 per gallon and gasoline prices topping $4.50, building support for sustainable transportation fuels and technologies with consistently lower prices is vital to our economic, energy and environmental security.

Compressed natural gas, for example, is roughly the equivalent of 75 cents per gallon of gasoline for municipal fleets. Not only are fleets choosing CNG significantly reducing emissions, they’re reaping significant savings of tax dollars.

Electric buses save cost over time as well, with some bus fleets saving around $10,000 annually in fuel and maintenance compared to their diesel counterparts.

Electric passenger vehicles also provide significant savings over the lifetime of the vehicle. A recent study by Jefferies found the total cost of ownership savings of an electric passenger vehicle over a gasoline equivalent is about $5,000.

But individual owners and fleets don’t necessarily have to invest in new vehicles to help reduce petroleum use and cut costs.

Reducing idling, implementing anti-idling policies and working to improve gas mileage are relatively easy fixes. Keeping tires properly inflated, vehicles maintained, and combining trips, can all make a difference as well.

Rather than casting blame for high prices at the pump, consider what you can do to help reduce dependence on petroleum. We’ll all reap the rewards in the end.

Lisek is executive director of Wisconsin Clean Cities: wicleancities.org.

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I have been in law enforcement for over a decade and am proud to represent and advocate for my fellow brothers and sisters in blue as their duly elected Wisconsin Fraternal Order of Police president. Our members overwhelmingly voted to endorse Republican candidate for governor Rebecca Kleefisch in late 2021. I believe this support is largely based on Kleefisch’s genuine and vocal support of law enforcement.

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